There is an overt ridiculousness about North Korea that, by making it the subject of kitsch, has shielded the regime from the full brunt of its deserved moral opprobrium. The North Korean regime is not only the source of inadvertently comic propaganda but also ghastly torture. And so the revelation that the regime was employing terrorist threats to stop a James Franco–Seth Rogen movie was initially greeted as a hilarious joke — which, in a sense, it is — before a colder reality has slowly settled in: A totalitarian regime has just successfully exerted control over American media. Another studio has immediately canceled a North Korea–themed project. Others will follow. American film is now being effectively vetted by Pyongyang.
Protests across the city have caused two thirds of NYPD precincts to pull the plug on their holiday parties, according to DNAinfo. The officers pay for the parties themselves and don't want to contribute money to the fete if they end up getting called to the streets to yell at a SUNY kid with a bad haircut to clear the area. "It sucks," one officer told DNAinfo. You know what also sucks ...
Over the weekend, three different Boston women reported that they were assaulted by their drivers while using unnamed ride-sharing services. In each incident, the driver touched the women inappropriately before they struggled to get him to let them out of the car. Now CBS Boston is reporting that another woman has come forward alleging that an Uber driver raped and strangled her.
This year was the worst. It was like if garbage got thrown on top of garbage and then that garbage got eaten by a giant garbage monster and was puked out as some more garbage. How closely were you paying attention to the terrible news of 2014? Take our quiz and find out. If you click an answer and it turns green, you got it right; if it turns red, you got it wrong, and you're lucky you didn't spend your whole year on Twitter.
The cause of death of a 35-year-old ex-Marine suspected of killing six family members has yet to be determined, according to the county coroner's office. While initial reports said that Bradley William Stone appeared to have self-inflicted wounds on the center of his body, the local coroner's office determined that he only sustained non-lethal wounds to his extremities. Instead, the coroner is examining crushed powders found near the suspect's body, and is awaiting a toxicology report.
Coming off the heels of the news that Sony was canceling the theatrical release of The Interview, the U.S. government has found that North Korea was behind the Sony hack after all — or at least "centrally involved," according to the New York Times. Sources wouldn't talk to the paper on the record, but multiple people in the intelligence community assure the Times that North Korea ordered the cyberattack, and CNN backs them up, saying the U.S. government is currently debating how best to deal with North Korea. Opinions reportedly differ on whether Kim Jong-Un's regime was aided by any former or current Sony employees. Either way, according to the Times, "intelligence officials have concluded" the cyberattack was "far more destructive than any seen before on American soil."
An Indiana police corporal who created and is selling shirts emblazoned with the phrase "Breathe Easy, Don't Break the Law" swears they have nothing to do with Eric Garner's famous last words, "I can't breathe." God, you guys have such active imaginations.
Give Governor Andrew Cuomo credit. He has been consistent, for nearly four years, in saying he would let the scientific facts decide whether to allow fracking in New York State. “It’s going to come down to the health commissioner and the environmental commissioner,” he told me, for the most recent time, in October. “I want a recommendation. And I’m going to follow it. Period. Politically, it doesn’t matter.”
And Wednesday afternoon Cuomo’s commissioners, siding with the studies that show the gas-extraction process to be either dangerous or of indeterminate risk, slammed the door on fracking. “The costs could overwhelm local governments,” said Joe Martens, the environmental head. “Would I let my child play in a field nearby? My answer is no,” said Dr. Howard Zucker, the Health Department boss. Their reports were so one-sided it made you wonder what took so long.
President Obama waited until a day after the conclusion of the 113th Congress to announce efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, but unsurprisingly the biggest shift in relations between the two countries in five decades drew passionate responses from lawmakers now dispersed around the country. While most noted that they're happy to see American Alan Gross released after five years in Cuban captivity, many went on to lambast the president in especially harsh terms for the historic move. "The president’s decision to reward the Castro regime and begin the path toward the normalization of relations with Cuba is inexplicable," said Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American. "Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naiveté during his final two years in office."